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Privately funded passenger Wi-Fi launches across Moscow Metro.

Posted by Luke Upton on Dec 16, 2014

1024px-Moscow_MetroCrowded_( today from Moscow where the installation of free but privately funded passenger Wi-Fi on all Metro lines is now complete. All 12 Moscow Metro lines, a total length of 325km are now equipped with the service, which operates through 5000 routers, offering a data transfer rate exceeding 100 Mb/s and has come online one month ahead of schedule. The Russian capital’s metro network is the world’s second busiest, with some seven million passengers a day. A spokesman for the Moscow Metro, quoted in Russia state press agency, TASS stated; “In some cities of the world there is Wi-Fi Internet access at underground railway lines, but no access in the tunnels, this makes this project incomparable in the world as it offers access in the tunnels.” The project for equipping Moscow Metro trains was launched on September 1st, 2013 with the Kakhovskaya and Circle Lines of the first to be equipped with free wireless Internet connection. (Picture top right, courtesy of Christophe Meneboeuf)

The contract was awarded to the sole bidder, Maxima Telecom, who selected Cisco Systems hardware and FiberinMotionT train-to-track wireless broadband technology supplied by Radwin. The network has the capability to support additional applications which could include real-time CCTV transmission, passenger information systems and Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC). The development and installation has been funded by private investors, with the aim to recoup the investment through the provision of paid-for advertising content to passengers using the Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi access will be free of charge, but users will have to view a few short advertising clips, which will be the main source of income for the company.The construction cost Maxima Telecom more than US $30 million of proprietary and borrowed funds which the investors expect to pay off in seven years. Recently Russian Railways JSC (RZD) has also launched free Wi-Fi at a number of its stations, through a subsidiary of Russian Railways - Vokzal Infocom.

(See also: How tragedy led to the world's first real-time, mobile wireless video surveillance system. )

The developments in Russia are also being mirrored in India, where Russian companies are looking to provide Wi-Fi in the rapidly growing metro systems of the nation’s cities. As reported in the Russia and India Report, AFK Sistema’s Indian unit Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL) will create Wi-Fi hotspots in three major railway stations in India. The Russian company, which operates under the MTS brand in India, has entered into a tie-up with Indian Railways, according to the report.

“We have got approval for putting up Wi-Fi hotspots at Agra, Ahmedabad and Varanasi railway stations and are working on proof of concept,” SSTL Chief Executive Dmitry Shukov told the Economic Times paper in an interview. SSTL, which introduced free Wi-Fi services in the Gurgaon Metro, would like to replicate this in cities such as Jaipur and Lucknow, where metro systems are being built, the paper said. The Russian company initially provided free Wi-Fi access to commuters for six months before charging them.

The Russian company is also looking at the Mumbai metro, of which three new lines will be constructed over the next 6 years.  The only active line of the Mumbai Metro was built by the Anil Ambani Reliance Group and has Reliance Wi-Fi connections. The Moscow Metro constructor is incidentally looking to build the third line of the Mumbai Metro, an underground route connecting the north and south of the city.

(See also: Opinion: 'An agenda for change' - a to-do list for the next Indian Minister of Railways.)

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Topics: IT and WiFi

Luke Upton

Written by Luke Upton

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